As William would put it “I take the preasant opportunity to seat myself and rite you a few lines hoping they will find you all well as I am happy to say I am well….”
Welcome to the Indiana 10th Project. This blog features letters and information relating to the Indiana 10th Battery, Light Artillery who fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. I first engaged on this project during a genealogy project tracing some of the history of my Great Great Grandfather James Grigg who was enlisted with the unit. Very little details on James exist and most of that information came from public records and paperwork. He was born to Noah Grigg(s) and Catherine Dillman in 1827 and worked as a farmer and blacksmith. This would explain why he was recruited into a battery as the big guns required maintenance and the assistance of horses, making smithing skills such as shoeing horses and repairing guns important to the battery. He served with the Indiana 10th Battery, Light Artillery from 1862 to 1865. His first marriage was to Ellen Parkinson and upon his return, he filed for divorce with the reason listed as infidelity. Ellen was expecting but he hadn’t had a furlough in the three years he served. No death or future records of her exist, so we assume she died in child birth. James then quickly married Sarah Galbreath, who had a 3 year old son named Edward – my great grandfather, who assumed James’ family name. Our family has a host of theories on that one so feel free to come up with your own.
James died in 1911 and was buried in Rensselaer, Indiana. We also located and confirmed a single photo featured on the Indiana State Library website, posted below. Finally, we know that James was completely illiterate, unable to even sign his name to any documents. Instead, he indicated his signature with a simple “x” and a witness signed that the mark was his. This fact is relevant to this project as it means that no other documents, such as letters or diaries, exist from him. Eager to know more about his day to day activities during the Civil War, and having already taken an interest in reading Civil War letters from Union Soldiers, I set about to see if any letters exist from the Indiana 10th Battery. My primary hope was to see if any of the letters mentioned James.
The following letters are a selection from the “Forder and Hubbard Families Letters” Collection at the Indiana Historical Society representing the civil war years only. William Forder is the principal writer through the bulk of these letters. Most of them are to his wife Sarah and their daughter Melissa. It is possible that James and William crossed paths but he was never mentioned in William’s letters. This is most likely because William and Sarah came from Darlington, Indiana and therefore Sarah and the others would not have known him and James likely didn’t contribute anything of note to William’s time or service. The companion mentioned most in these letters is Jim McMullen, William’s brother-in-law, who also served in the 10th. He had also contributed letters to this collection. Other contributors include various family members writing about the war to each other.
In addition to the letters, this blog will also feature some information on the battery’s movements, the fights they contributed to, and other bits to help put the contents of the letters into context. The letters will be posted on the same dates as when they were written, 155 years after the fact. I hope everyone enjoys the letters as much as I did transcribing them.
Hoping to remain your faithful and true transcriber